The credibility of the news media in the U.S. is just above its all-time low. In fact, of U.S. adult respondents to a Gallup poll, 29% said they had little trust in news media reporting and 34% had “none at all.” This should alarm everyone — but especially businesses.

For many decades, businesses have leveraged public relations to help build their brands’ credibility in the public eye. Although PR encompasses many other dimensions, in recent years, it’s largely become synonymous with media relations — the art of pitching newsworthy ideas to journalists for inclusion in their stories.

How The Credibility of the Media Can Affect Businesses

When journalists include companies in their coverage, the perceived value of those brands skyrockets due to the third-party validation they receive, which builds brand credibility that can’t otherwise be attained through owned and paid media tactics. This is because the media has traditionally been trusted as an unbiased source of information. In other words, because the media is credible, being in media boosts your credibility.

But with the credibility of the media on the decline, companies eventually may not benefit from the reputation-building nature of PR. If this were to happen, it would become even more challenging for brands to build credibility.

According to the results of a 2018 Gallup/Knight Foundation Survey, “less than half of Americans (44%) say they can think of a news source that reports the news objectively,” and most Americans (66%) say most news outlets do a poor job of “separating fact from opinion.”

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